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Understanding the Difference Between CBD and its Psycho(active) Cousin

“Will I fail my drug test”?

This is still one of my favorite questions I get asked on a regular basis by clients, customers, and others alike, and is usually preceeded with the question of “will CBD get me high”?

NO. You will not fail your drug test and CBD will NOT get you “high”… Unless you are using a dirty, mis-labeled product that you purchased at the gas station. Most people are pleasently surprised to hear this information, but some still proceed with caution and slight skepticism, so we want to clear the air about CBD and its psyco(active) cousin, THC.

Over the years, the debate about the usefulness of hemp related plants and their derivatives has become a hot topic and is the center of debate among government organizations, researchers, and avid users. Today in the new political climate, many countries have been moving to decriminalize these plants and their relatives as increasing evidence of the numerous potential health benefits is brought to light. At the center of it all are the two most famous cannabinoids that come from the cannabis plant, CBD and THC. 

CBD and the Endocannabinoid System

Cannabidiol, or CBD for short, is one of the many non-psychoactive phytocannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. These phytocannabinoids are chemical compounds that act on cannabinoid receptors throughout the body, which are part of a greater system known as the endocannabinoid system. The cells of the endocannabinoid system alter the release of neurotransmitters in the brain producing a variety of effects. 

Cannabinoid recepters are broken down into two classes, CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are found primarly in the brain and the central nervous system whereas CB2 receptors are predominantly found in peripheral organs associated with the immune system, such as on white blood cells. Various cannabinoids act on CB1 and CB2 receptors differently, which is why certain cannabinoids like THC and CBD illicit different responses.

According to the World Health Organization, “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential… To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD”. In recent years CBD has gain massive traction as an alternative treatment for reducing inflammation, inducing restful sleep, and reducing anxiety and depression, as well as other disorders that prevent a person from being able to fully relax. In addition to the afore mentioned benefits, CBD may provide potential treatment in a number of chronic  conditiions such as:

  • Autoimmun diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, Grave’s, Hashimotos) 
  • Neuropsychiatric conditions (ADHD, PTSD, alcoholism, autism)
  • Gastrointestinal disorders (IBS, IBD, Chron’s, colitis)
  • Skin conditions (psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis)
  • Metabolic syndrome (diabetes, obesity)
  • Neurological conditions (dimentia, Alzheimer’s, stroke, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury)
  • Cardiovascular dysfunction (atherosclerosis, arrhythmia) 

Research has shown promosing benefits in CBD’s role as a neuroprotectant, and a potential treatment for individuals with cancer. However, research indicates that a combination of CBD and THC provides the best solution in inhibiting tumor cell proliferation.

The method of delivery varies from product to product and with individual preference. CBD can be found as an oil in tincutres, infused into food products or beverages, in supplemental form, and as a smokeable or vapable solution. The bioavailability of CBD varies based on the method of delivery, potentcy of the product, and whether it is a fat-soluble or water-soluble form.

The dramatic increase in chronic conditions as well as stress and anxiety disorders that plague today’s world, creates a thriving environment and necessity for this rockstar molecule. 

THC, the Psycho(active) Cousin

Tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC, is the psychoactive cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant and is what most people refer to when using the term “marijuana”. 

THC shares many of the attributes of CBD but illicits psycoactive effects, making it less viable for everyday use. 

Researchers have long praised THC for its ability to help people treat loss of appetite, nausea, and various types of pain, however, the use of THC is still considered widely controversial and remains at the center of many political debates. While research is still being conducted, the medical community has widely accepted TCH to used as an alternative treatment in conditions like cancer and AIDS, which is reflected in the 33 states who have legalized medical marijuana.

The effects of THC compared to other cannabinoids can vary drastically. THC can be used for similar conditions as CBD, such as pain management, glaucoma, insomnia, reducing nausea, increasing appetite, and reducing anxiety. However, when concentrated THC is smoked or ingested in amounts greater than what the individual is accustomed to, side effects like increased heart rate, paranoia, memory loss, and slow reactions times have been reported. 

While THC is tolerated well by some and used recreationally in a number of countries and states in the U.S., it’s use remains widely controversial and misunderstood, thus it remains known as CBD’s psyco(active) cousin.


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